Article by Teresa Chang
The recorded words of Jesus will change our lives, yet it is important to remember He did more than speak! When we talk about His words, we also need to talk about His works. The words and works of Jesus form the gospel—they are the good news. As a church leader, try to build a culture that thrives on both the raw words of the gospel as well as the power of the Lord found in healing.
Remember, culture is the shared values, priorities and practices, along with the traditions, symbols and expressions that unite a community. Your culture reflects who your church is at a deep level. As you clarify your values, you establish your priorities—things that are more or less important for how you spend your time, energy and resources. Out of your priorities emerge your everyday practices (things you naturally do on a day-to-day basis). Each of these individual “steps” works to establish a culture of healing in your church.
Here are a few other things to consider as you build your church culture:
1. As a church leader, personify the culture yourself.
As John Wimber said, culture is best built from the inside out. If you want to build something, start in the leader; then move on to the team and finally the congregation. Give your people a vision and infuse them with the values and priorities that will help them become good developers of the vision in their own right.
What values, priorities and practices form the foundation of a culture of healing? Primarily, a culture of healing is kind and safe. Members of the congregation know they don’t have to perform or be perfect. They are permitted to struggle and be vulnerable, and they understand they won’t be removed from the family if they are less than “put together.” Your church culture needs to give people permission to be in process.
A culture of healing also offers grace, opportunities for transformation and trust that honors confidentiality. It avoids gossip and, again, doesn’t penalize its members for their less-than-perfect moments.
2. Make mercy available.
In every meeting, pray for the sick and wounded. Prayer should be a main component of your church small groups, and all your church leaders should be trained to pray for the sick, even if healing is not their primary gifting.
Talk about healing with your team, and make certain to share testimonies of healing. Show people what a culture of healing can look like.
3. Infuse your vision into your primary team and bring it to the church.
Promote your vision for healing on a regular basis and celebrate it well. A culture of healing thrives when its individual members discover who they are in Christ and are empowered and equipped to impact the world around them, both in the church and outside of it. Our calling is to do the same things Jesus did, and He healed “all who were oppressed by the devil” (Acts 10:38).